Knowledge Hub Bulletin 10

October 2018

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Bulletin en français

Bringing Trauma-Informed Health Promotion Projects to Life!

The Knowledge Hub is excited to release three videos featuring Sole Expression, Building Internal Resilience through Horses and Shape Your Life! These short videos describe innovative trauma-informed health promotion interventions and the impacts they are having on participants.

The videos are now posted on YouTube, the Knowledge Hub’s website and being shared on Social Media.  All videos are available with French subtitles as well.

The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, in partnership with The Mane Intent and Trent University, is developing and evaluating an intervention that combines equine-assisted learning with workshops on expressive arts and psychoeducation to build resilience and life skills in young women between the ages of 13 and 18 years who are survivors of child maltreatment.

Sole Expression is a trauma-informed hip-hop dance intervention for youth who have experienced family violence.  The program is being delivered and evaluated by BOOST Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Toronto, Ontario in partnership with Unity and Ryerson University.

Shape Your Life (SYL) is a free, trauma- informed, non-contact boxing program for self-identified women who have experienced violence. The program operates as a partnership between Dr. Cathy van Ingen, Associate Professor in Kinesiology at Brock University and Joanne Green, Executive Director with Opportunity for Advancement. 

Zoom Meetings

Based on discussions with the community of practice (CoP) members, the Knowledge Hub will host 2 general online meetings with all projects and 2 thematic meetings on relevant topics for interested  CoP members.

Mark Your Calendars: Issue-Based Networks!

Based on discussions with the community of practice (CoP) members, the Knowledge Hub will host one general online meeting with all projects and 2 issue-based network meetings on relevant topics for interested CoP members.

December 4, 2018

Using creative arts in trauma-informed interventions and evaluations.

March 5, 2019

Communicating research results/findings with research participants, especially children and adolescents. More details on the thematic Zoom meetings will be shared via email.

Featured Project

The MindUP™ for Young Children project is implementing and evaluating a mindfulness-informed, evidence-based social and emotional learning intervention within a trauma-informed framework to full-day kindergarten children in the London District Catholic School Board and a community-based organization, Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre.

Project staff recently had the opportunity to record video interviews with some of the teachers teaching the MindUP curriculum and below are some of their thoughts about the program and how it has benefited them personally and professionally: 

Now as an educator, instead of going over to a child and  saying, ‘hey, don’t throw blocks, you know we are not allowed to throw blocks’, I can go over and support the child by saying that, ‘hey, I noticed that you are throwing blocks, what part of your brain do you think is in charge right now? How can we change that? What can we do so that your amygdala isn’t in charge anymore? So, that your frontal cortex could start working.

Classroom with empty desks“My students became very good at naming their own feelings, became very empathetic and aware of others’ feelings and they became really good at focusing, using breathing and different tools.”

“I love that the words come back to me during the day. One particular Friday afternoon, I had yard duty, it was snowing and it was terrible out. And I was groaning about having to go out in the yard. And one of the kids quickly told me that I was being a pessimist and it made me totally turn my behaviour around.”

2 hands holding toy over blue mat“I think what the trauma-informed training really reinforced for me was the importance that the school environment has for some of our kids. For some of them, it’s the only space that they feel safe and its really up to us as educators to make sure that they are developing positive relationships and that they are  somewhere where they feel safe and comfortable.”

When the teachers were asked about why they would recommend MindUP, their responses ranged from explaining the importance of learning about self-regulation and how the skills gained from MindUP help students to not only succeed in academics but in their life in general to how easy it is to integrate the curriculum with other subjects.

mindup logo and image of brain on a tv screenIn particular, one teacher said, “I would recommend it because I just think it’s healthy, it’s a great outlet and it provides them with a lot of focus and really kind of like a safe zone to be exactly where they are.” Another teacher added that, “I think that MindUP is great for our classroom today because it teaches students skills that they don’t necessarily learn from home and these are skills that are important for their life not only now but as they grow and these are skills that they can continue to take with them  throughout the rest of their lives.”

Stay tuned for the MindUP video!

Member Profile

Crystal headhsotMeet Crystal Giesbrecht!

I am the Director of Research and Communications at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) and Co-Principal Investigator of nato’ we ho win (pronounced “natawayhowin,” Cree for “The Art of Self-Healing.”) nato’ we ho win is a 13-week program, currently taking place in three communities in Saskatchewan, that promotes healing for Indigenous women who have experienced intimate partner violence through traditional teachings and arts-based activities.

I live in Regina, Saskatchewan and have been working at PATHS for 7.5 years. Outside of my work at PATHS, I am an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of    Regina. In addition, I continue to take classes and am currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Practice. I volunteer with Amnesty International and am a member of Amnesty Regina’s dragon boat team. I enjoy spending time outdoors particularly camping, hiking, and kayaking.

Research Updates

The P.E.A.C.E project has now completed its qualitative outcome evaluation which included informal discussions and reflections, as well as open ended individual interviews and focus groups with program participants, services providers and key informants. The qualitative interviews were undertaken to identify key themes of program success and participants’ experiences. A manuscript outlining the results is currently in preparation.

The TransFormed project received approval from the Community Research Ethics Board of Ontario and the project team members are planning to develop the intervention following data collection. Researchers, agencies and people with lived experience will lead community-grounded research on trans, gender diverse, and Two Spirit  individuals’ experiences of  domestic violence/intimate partner violence; barriers to health/social supports; promising practices in health promotion; knowledge and awareness.

The STEP project is now finalizing its intervention manual and programming will begin in January 2019. A peer-reviewed   journal article outlining the development of the STEP program will be available online in November 2018.

Shape Your Life project’s last group ended in August 2018 and the project is currently offering its grad classes and is in its final stages of data collection.

Pilot Programs Successfully Completed

Sole Expression has successfully completed one pilot in Barrie, ON and is about to start a second program with plans to branch out to Orillia, ON in 2019. The project team members are also currently exploring implementing a new program in a recreational centre in Scarborough located in Toronto, ON.

Bounce Back League has completed its full pilot year. Project team members have been working on the Coach Play Book, which will be the guide used to run the program in other Boys and Girls Clubs. They are also currently working on the train-the-trainer program in order to have current coaches train other staff to run the program in clubs across the country.

Inunnguiniq recently completed its first pilot program which was offered over the summer in Ottawa. The program was a great success with expressed interest from the community for additional training in the future.

P.E.A.C.E Project: The Salon Experience and the Affirmation Corner

In summer 2018, the P.E.A.C.E project held an exciting event for participants between the ages of 16-25 at Covenant House Toronto.

The event was an opportunity for youth to come together in celebration of self-care. Youth received makeovers, facials, manicures, henna tattoos and haircuts. They also engaged in a writing activity where they wrote words of affirmation on sticky notes and performed their own poetry. The affirmation corner was based on the theme of “WritiVism” inspired by the work of Ijeoma Umebinyuo. Learn more

Check out STEP project’s website!

The STEP project launched its project’s website which includes information about the intervention and resources for researchers, parents and professionals.

collage of 6 small photos epicting children drawing

Featured Resources

At the recent World Association of Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) Congress in Rome, Italy, Dr. Mary Motz was interviewed for a podcast to be used as part of the MERTIL (My Early Relational Trauma informed Learning) project in  Australia.  The podcast describes Building Connections;  the trauma-informed resources developed by the project;  how the project is supporting community-based projects across Canada to incorporate trauma-informed practice; and the  theoretical frameworks used to inform their practice at both   Breaking the Cycle and in Building Connections.  Check out the podcast!

Andrews, N.C.Z., Motz, M., Pepler, D.J., Jeong, J., & Khoury, J. (2018). Engaging mothers with substance use issues and their children in early intervention: Understanding use of service and outcomes. Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol(83), 10-20.

The study aims were to 1) describe women’s use of service, 2) examine how early engagement of pregnant women related to postnatal service use, and 3) examine the  circumstances in which women ended their service relationship with Breaking the Cycle.  Results provide support for a relational approach to service that promotes not only the relationship between mother and child, and mother and service provider, but also highlights relationships among staff, between staff and management, and between community partners as integral to effective service delivery.

Shaikh, M., & Forneris, T. (2018). The influence of junior coaches on club members in the Start2Finish Running & Reading Club: A qualitative study. Journal of Adolescence, 68, 50-60. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.07.004

This study examined youth leaders’ involvement and influence on younger program participants in a physical activity-based program for youth. The research was conducted with the Start2Finish Running & Reading Club, a program that uses youth leaders to facilitate its activities. The results showed that there are several perceived benefits that result from creating meaningful   leadership roles for youth. The study recommends that those working in the field of programming for at-risk youth begin to create meaningful leadership opportunities that includes formal training on leadership approaches.

 Thompson-Walsh, C. A., Scott, K. L., Dyson, A., & Lishak, V. (2018). Are we in this Together? Post-Separation Co-Parenting of Fathers with and without a History of Domestic Violence. Child Abuse Review, 27(2), 137-149. doi:10.1002/car.2510

This study examined fathers’ perspectives on post-separation    co-parenting. The results showed that for most fathers with a history of domestic violence perpetration, co-parenting  problems persisted post-separation and the fathers were overwhelmingly negative when talking about their ex-partners. The study recommends providing ongoing support for fathers with a history of domestic violence in order to safely and effectively co-parent.

Wall, M. A., Jenney, A., & Walsh, M. (2018). Conducting evaluation research with children exposed to violence: How technological innovations in methodologies and data collection may enhance the process. Child Abuse & Neglect. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.01.007

Recent technological advances have provided researchers with data collection tools that better engage children and their caregivers. This paper provides a review of current literature and a case study example of how one children’s mental health agency has implemented tablet-based data collection procedures.

Register Now: Knowledge Hub & Learning Network Upcoming Webinars

Understanding immigrant women’s experiences and responses to intimate partner violence: looking beyond the ‘cultural’ framing
Date & Time:
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Presented by: Vathsala Illesinghe, MD, PhD Policy Studies  student, Yeates School of Graduate Studies, Ryerson University

Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory (ICRT): a New Tool for Improving Health Outcomes for FNMI (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) Peoples
Date & Time:
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | 1:00-2:15 PM EST
Presented by: Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology & Counselling, University of Regina


Knowledge Hub Team

Linda Baker, Dianne Lalonde, Sara Mohamed, Anna-Lee Straatman

We would love to hear from you! 

Contact us: smoha84@uwo.ca

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